Friday, January 31, 2014

Writing Historical Fiction - Online Course at Mount Royal University, March and April


Writing Historical Fiction. Online course at Mount Royal University in Calgary from March 3 to April 14. 

Learn how to write authentic and appealing historical fiction and turn your ideas into compelling stories. Understand how research plays a crucial role. This course involves online assignments, discussions, and writing exercises. 

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Writing for Children and Young Adults - Classes at Mount Royal University in February


Writing for Children and Young Adults. Evening classes at Mount Royal University in Calgary from February 5 to 26, 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm. 

Explore the process of writing books for children and young adults aged 8 to 12. Focus on structure, character development and research, and their importance in your stories. Examine how to turn a creative story idea into a marketable, finished manuscript.

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

School Programs, Presentations and Workshops


I offer a variety of presentationsauthor in residence programs and conduct workshops for children at schools. 

I offer a variety of presentations for grades three to eight, but can work with grades one and two as well. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, plus many other aspects of writing and publishing. 

I will present to around one hundred students at a time, although we can also look at workshops with smaller groups or individual classes. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for school presentations.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Historical Background of The Alchemist's Portrait

The Alchemist's Portrait is 'a time traveling thrill ride for middle grade readers'.

'A school trip to the art gallery at the city museum leads Matthew into an eerie meeting with Peter Glimmer, imprisoned inside his own portrait by his villainous uncle in 1666. Entrusted by Peter with recovering the one object that can save the world, Matthew is sent hurtling over 300 years into the past. Encountering magic, mayhem and murder, Matthew also has to contend with Peter's uncle, the ruthless and seemingly immortal Nicholas Van der Leyden, at every turn, in a desperate race through time to save the future.'

On my website, you can learn more about the historical periods depicted in the novel, including seventeenth century Amsterdam, the French Revolution, the American Civil War and the Russian Revolution, as well as links to the history of alchemy and to the famous paintings and portraits mentioned in the story. 

The Alchemist's Portrait is available at most online bookstores which you can link to hereAutographed copies are also always available directly from the author.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Children's Writer's Guide - Available on Amazon


The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how you can get started as a writer, create time and space to pursue your craft and deal with lack of motivation and writers block. Topics covered include where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, choosing names for characters that are appropriate to the story, the importance of historical research if your novel is set in a different era, writing science fiction and fantasy, and the use of magic in stories for children.

The guide examines the role of editing and revision and how to deal with what is often the inevitable process of rejection, at least until good fortune comes your way. I also recount some of my experiences with marketing and promotion, such as book launches and in-store signings, websites, blogs, and social media, and discusses presentations, workshops and author-in-residence programs at schools and libraries.

Check out the video on YouTube, where I talk about some of the topics covered in the Guide.

Here are just a few places where you can buy The Children’s Writer’s Guide.

Amazon Canada               Amazon USA               Amazon UK     
Amazon Germany             Amazon France           Amazon Japan

You can also learn more about The Children’s Writer’s Guidealong with all my other books, on my website.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - University of Calgary, Saturday, February 8

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - Saturday, February 8

This workshop deals with getting started as a writer for young readers and the subsequent path to publication. You will examine the writing process from initial concept through to the finished manuscript, including how to turn ideas into stories, story structure, developing characters, the creation of outlines and the importance of editing and revision. You will also examine ways to research publishing houses where you can submit your work, cover letters, synopses and sample chapters.

Learn more about the Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel workshop and how to register here

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Online Course with the University of Calgary - Writing for Children and Youth - April, May and June

Writing for Children and Youth - April 15 to June 9

The children and youth writing market is a rich and vibrant one. In this online course, you will examine the writing process from initial concept to finished work including how to turn ideas into stories, story structure, developing characters, the creation of outlines and the importance of editing and revision. You will also examine ways to research publishing houses where you can submit your work, cover letters, synopses and sample chapters. 

Learn more about Writing for Children and Youth and how to register here

Author in Residence


For my Author in Residence program, I can be at your school for a week or longer. This allows me to cover topics in much more depth than would be possible during a regular author visit. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

I have some suggestions for presentations and workshops, but am always pleased to work with teachers and librarians to build sessions best suited to your students. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for my Author in Residence program.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Writing Historical Fiction - Online Course at Mount Royal University, March and April

Writing Historical Fiction. Online course at Mount Royal University in Calgary from March 3 to April 14. 

Learn how to write authentic and appealing historical fiction and turn your ideas into compelling stories. Understand how research plays a crucial role. This course involves online assignments, discussions, and writing exercises. 

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

The Historical Background of The Doomsday Mask - Part Four

Ancient Cities of the Americas

Some of the ancient cities of Central and South America served as an inspiration for parts of the story in The Doomsday Mask. The city of Tenochtitlan was established in 1325 and became the capital of the Aztec Empire, until it was conquered by the Spanish invaders in 1521. Teotihuacan is located thirty miles north of Mexico City and is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. 

Chichen Itza was built by the Mayan civilization in Yucatan peninsular in Mexico. The mysterious ruins of Tiahuanaco are located near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Machu Picchu, often called the lost city of the Incas, is located high in the Peruvian Andes.

You can also view my video on YouTube where I explain the story behind the story of The Doomsday Mask.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Forming Fictional Characters - University of Calgary, Tuesday, January 28

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Forming Fictional Characters - Tuesday, January 28, 6 pm to 9 pm 


Without people there is no plot and characters are at the heart of any story. In this workshop, we explore where writers get ideas for the people in their stories, the many methods of creating strong characters and how to use descriptive language to build them. Students invent their own unique characters and also learn how to write effective and engaging dialogue for their creations so that their characters truly come alive for the reader.

Learn more about the Forming Fictional Characters workshop and how to register here

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

School Programs, Presentations and Workshops


I offer a variety of presentationsauthor in residence programs and conduct workshops for children at schools. 

I offer a variety of presentations for grades three to eight, but can work with grades one and two as well. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, plus many other aspects of writing and publishing. 

I will present to around one hundred students at a time, although we can also look at workshops with smaller groups or individual classes. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for school presentations.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Writing for Children and Young Adults - Classes at Mount Royal University in February


Writing for Children and Young Adults. Evening classes at Mount Royal University in Calgary from February 5 to 26, 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm. 

Explore the process of writing books for children and young adults aged 8 to 12. Focus on structure, character development and research, and their importance in your stories. Examine how to turn a creative story idea into a marketable, finished manuscript.

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

Coaching and Workshops for Writers


I offer workshops and presentations for both adults and children for community associations,home schooled students and summer camps, as well as services for writers including coachingmanuscript editing and evaluation, plus online workshops for children and for adults. 

I conduct creative writing workshops with community associations and have run workshops and made presentations as part of summer camp programs in Calgary and the surrounding area. I also work as an instructor at the University of Calgary and at Mount Royal University, conducting one day classes and evening sessions for adults who are interested in writing for children and young adults. I’ve also conducted similar workshops for adults for community associations, professional writer’s groups, public libraries and am available as a speaker for keynote addresses, conferences and other events.

Contact me directly for further details about coaching and workshops.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - University of Calgary, Saturday, February 8

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - Saturday, February 8

This workshop deals with getting started as a writer for young readers and the subsequent path to publication. You will examine the writing process from initial concept through to the finished manuscript, including how to turn ideas into stories, story structure, developing characters, the creation of outlines and the importance of editing and revision. You will also examine ways to research publishing houses where you can submit your work, cover letters, synopses and sample chapters.

Learn more about the Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel workshop and how to register here

The Children's Writer's Guide - Available on Amazon


The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how you can get started as a writer, create time and space to pursue your craft and deal with lack of motivation and writers block. Topics covered include where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, choosing names for characters that are appropriate to the story, the importance of historical research if your novel is set in a different era, writing science fiction and fantasy, and the use of magic in stories for children.

The guide examines the role of editing and revision and how to deal with what is often the inevitable process of rejection, at least until good fortune comes your way. I also recount some of my experiences with marketing and promotion, such as book launches and in-store signings, websites, blogs, and social media, and discusses presentations, workshops and author-in-residence programs at schools and libraries.

Check out the video on YouTube, where I talk about some of the topics covered in the Guide.

Here are just a few places where you can buy The Children’s Writer’s Guide.

Amazon Canada               Amazon USA               Amazon UK     
Amazon Germany             Amazon France           Amazon Japan

You can also learn more about The Children’s Writer’s Guidealong with all my other books, on my website.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Historical Background of The Doomsday Mask - Part Three

The Pleistocene Extinction

The world's paleontologists are largely agreed that a catastrophic event happened 12,000 years ago, or in 10,000 BC, around the same time as the supposed destruction of Atlantis depicted in The Doomsday Mask. Vast numbers of large mammals such as mammoths, mastodons, sabre-toothed tigers and others vanished almost overnight. You can learn more about the Pleistocene Extinction here.

You can learn more about all the historical events that served as inspiration for the novel here on my website. You can also view my video on YouTube where I explain the story behind the story of The Doomsday Mask.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Forming Fictional Characters - University of Calgary, Tuesday, January 28

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Forming Fictional Characters - Tuesday, January 28, 6 pm to 9 pm 


Without people there is no plot and characters are at the heart of any story. In this workshop, we explore where writers get ideas for the people in their stories, the many methods of creating strong characters and how to use descriptive language to build them. Students invent their own unique characters and also learn how to write effective and engaging dialogue for their creations so that their characters truly come alive for the reader.

Learn more about the Forming Fictional Characters workshop and how to register here

Friday, January 17, 2014

Author in Residence


For my Author in Residence program, I can be at your school for a week or longer. This allows me to cover topics in much more depth than would be possible during a regular author visit. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

I have some suggestions for presentations and workshops, but am always pleased to work with teachers and librarians to build sessions best suited to your students. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for my Author in Residence program.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Historical Background of The Doomsday Mask - Part Two

The Legend of Atlantis

The Mask of Kulkaan featured in the The Doomsday Mask is a priceless ancient artifact and a remnant of Atlantis. The Mask was inspired by the legends of the mysterious crystal skulls discovered in Central America and in other parts of the world. You can learn more about crystal skulls here.

There are countless stories about the lost city of Atlantis, plus many theories as to the possible location of the legendary civilization. These include the Mediterranean, the mid Atlantic, the Caribbean and even Antarctica. You can learn more about the suggested locations of Atlantis here and here.

The theory that Atlantis was in Antarctica when it was largely free of ice is dealt with on this site.
Explore the possibility of the civilization being situated in the Mediterranean and Black Sea here. These sites deal with a selection of some other legendary lost continents and cities elsewhere in the world, such as ZealandiaLemuria and the Kerguelen Plateau.

You can learn about the scientific hypothesis of polar shifts and earth crust displacement, which are featured in some theories and works of fiction about the fate of Atlantis, here. You can also view my video on YouTube where I explain the story behind the story of The Doomsday Mask.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

School Programs, Presentations and Workshops


I offer a variety of presentationsauthor in residence programs and conduct workshops for children at schools. 

I offer a variety of presentations for grades three to eight, but can work with grades one and two as well. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, plus many other aspects of writing and publishing. 

I will present to around one hundred students at a time, although we can also look at workshops with smaller groups or individual classes. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for school presentations.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Copywriting Services for Business

The way in which you communicate with your customers is a vital component  of your business and well written content can be the difference between success and failure. 

I have extensive experience in writing for a wide range of industries and market segments and offer a variety of copywriting services including website content, blogs and newsletters, social media including Facebook and Twitter, brochures, direct mail, sales letters, press releases, newspaper and magazine advertising and more. 
Contact me for details regarding copywriting services and my portfolio of completed projects.

Writing for Children and Young Adults - Classes at Mount Royal University in February


Writing for Children and Young Adults. Evening classes at Mount Royal University in Calgary from February 5 to 26, 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm. 

Explore the process of writing books for children and young adults aged 8 to 12. Focus on structure, character development and research, and their importance in your stories. Examine how to turn a creative story idea into a marketable, finished manuscript.

Registration is available here at the Mount Royal University website.

The Children's Writer's Guide - Available on Amazon


The Children’s Writer’s Guide examines how you can get started as a writer, create time and space to pursue your craft and deal with lack of motivation and writers block. Topics covered include where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, choosing names for characters that are appropriate to the story, the importance of historical research if your novel is set in a different era, writing science fiction and fantasy, and the use of magic in stories for children.

The guide examines the role of editing and revision and how to deal with what is often the inevitable process of rejection, at least until good fortune comes your way. I also recount some of my experiences with marketing and promotion, such as book launches and in-store signings, websites, blogs, and social media, and discusses presentations, workshops and author-in-residence programs at schools and libraries.

Check out the video on YouTube, where I talk about some of the topics covered in the Guide.

Here are just a few places where you can buy The Children’s Writer’s Guide.

Amazon Canada               Amazon USA               Amazon UK     
Amazon Germany             Amazon France           Amazon Japan

You can also learn more about The Children’s Writer’s Guidealong with all my other books, on my website.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Historical Background of The Doomsday Mask - Part One

The End of World War II


Part of the story in The Doomsday Mask takes place in the chaos of the city of Berlin at the end of the Second World War. Large parts of the city were destroyed and the army recruited anyone strong enough to hold a weapon in the waning days of the war, including children. 

Art treasures and other valuables were looted by the Nazis from across Europe during the course of the war and as the Allies closed in, some of these were buried, but also hidden in mine shafts, tunnels and even at the bottom of lakes, both for safekeeping and to retrieve once the fighting was over. One treasure horde discovered by US troops in a mine contained thousands of bags of gold, silver, and valuable coins worth over $500 million, along with jewelry and priceless works of art.

This site examines the many sites where treasure, gold and valuables worth millions were hidden in the last days of the conflict. Some of these were located in the alpine regions of southern Germany where the Allies feared the Nazis might make a final stand lasting for years. You can learn more about the so-called National Redoubt here.

You can also view my video on YouTube where I explain the story behind the story of The Doomsday Mask.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - University of Calgary, Saturday, February 8

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel - Saturday, February 8

This workshop deals with getting started as a writer for young readers and the subsequent path to publication. You will examine the writing process from initial concept through to the finished manuscript, including how to turn ideas into stories, story structure, developing characters, the creation of outlines and the importance of editing and revision. You will also examine ways to research publishing houses where you can submit your work, cover letters, synopses and sample chapters.

Learn more about the Writing and Publishing Your Children's Novel workshop and how to register here

Coaching and Workshops for Writers


I offer workshops and presentations for both adults and children for community associations,home schooled students and summer camps, as well as services for writers including coachingmanuscript editing and evaluation, plus online workshops for children and for adults. 

I conduct creative writing workshops with community associations and have run workshops and made presentations as part of summer camp programs in Calgary and the surrounding area. I also work as an instructor at the University of Calgary and at Mount Royal University, conducting one day classes and evening sessions for adults who are interested in writing for children and young adults. I’ve also conducted similar workshops for adults for community associations, professional writer’s groups, public libraries and am available as a speaker for keynote addresses, conferences and other events.

Contact me directly for further details about coaching and workshops.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Forming Fictional Characters - University of Calgary, Tuesday, January 28

Each year, the Continuing Education department at the University of Calgary serves over 20,000 lifelong learners and offers thousands of courses taught by more than 1,000 instructors – all experts in their fields.

Forming Fictional Characters - Tuesday, January 28, 6 pm to 9 pm 


Without people there is no plot and characters are at the heart of any story. In this workshop, we explore where writers get ideas for the people in their stories, the many methods of creating strong characters and how to use descriptive language to build them. Students invent their own unique characters and also learn how to write effective and engaging dialogue for their creations so that their characters truly come alive for the reader.

Learn more about the Forming Fictional Characters workshop and how to register here

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Author in Residence


For my Author in Residence program, I can be at your school for a week or longer. This allows me to cover topics in much more depth than would be possible during a regular author visit. Each of my novels provide ideas for classroom projects and you may find some suggestions on the Study Guides page on my website. 

I have some suggestions for presentations and workshops, but am always pleased to work with teachers and librarians to build sessions best suited to your students. 

Contact me for details of fees and availability for my Author in Residence program.